So there’s been a bunch of news released this past couple of weeks regarding the expansion and I’ve mainly just been reviewing the pieces and not the whole of it.  So I thought I’d step back and give my thoughts on what we know so far.

I’ll start with my concerns: (in no particular order)

  • I’m not entirely thrilled about having another barter item (skirmish marks) – but it at least sounds like initially there are enough things to purchase.  And I’m not terribly concerned if they do take up an inventory slot – sure there are potentially more elegant ways to deal with it, but honestly a couple of slots isn’t that huge of a deal.
  • I’m bummed our current legendaries will be going away and that they’re handling the IXP like they are.  I can understand why they’re doing it, but this system still isn’t quite what it could be.
  • I’m concerned that we haven’t heard anything regarding character development.  We’ve seen a lot about everything else, but none of the walkthroughs have said anything like “ooh, that’s an awesome new attack/skill/whatever” or commented on new traits, etc.
  • I’m a little worried about the end-game options as the set and drops from DN are less then inspiring, hopefully they get back on the right track and make the end-game rewarding.  It isn’t the main reason why folks start to raid, but the hope of a cool drop is what keeps them continually raiding.  I think that’s one of the reasons why many continued to farm the rift – there were lots of drops people really wanted.  I can’t think of a single “must-have” from DN.

As for the things I like so far: (again, no real order here)

  • I’m 100% sold on the storyline of Mirkwood, the reasoning behind us being there and the path we’re walking down with the epic lines.
  • The area looks amazing, not that I’m surprised based on the rest of Middle-Earth.
  • Skirmishes and the reward structure sound like all sorts of win – not just for max level toons but for leveling as well.
  • I’m excited about the new mechanics inside the instances, I’m glad we’re continuing to get variations there.
  • I can’t wait for the horse changes – zoning and using items while mounted are probably my two favorites.
  • I struggled with where to put the LI changes as overall the system is still a bit of a let down.  However, I think SoM will make the system overall better.  The transition will be tough but in the end I think we’ll be better off.  It still isn’t perfect, but it is better then when it launched.
  • more instances and another 12-person raid
  • 2 new char slots and a goat! 😉

And things I’m on the fence about:

  • the combat system sounds good – but we’ll have to wait and see how the mechanics work.  It might be another Moria like change which will take us a while to get used to – and potentially re-grind traits for.
  • There’s the potential skirmishes could make it harder to find groups (I do pug frequently) but only time will tell on that one.
  • The changes to radiance gear tokens – we’ll have to see how the specifics work.  I like the possibility that it could take me 1 run, not the requirement to do 10 (or whatever the number is).  I put this here as if it is a low enough requirement or I really like the instances it won’t be a problem and could make it easier to get raid gear.

Overall, I’m still excited about Mirkwood as there’s more then enough positive things we know that will be worth it for me.  Most of my concerns are centered around just not knowing and pure speculation.  I guess I’m just a little nervous as there was a great buildup surrounding how we’d advance our characters to 65 but nothing regarding what that actually means.  Hopefully (like many of the podcasts) as soon as I write this, Turbine will have a new dev diary out 😉